Carn Diamh is literally a ‘hop skip’ up the hill behind our home. Says she. I first walked the route two to three years ago, maybe even more and I am embarrassed to say I failed to reach the summit. It was a lovely sunny day then and an impulse day out. I remember it felt like an age and we still couldn’t see the top. Instead, tempted by a route which dropped us back down into our own back garden we admitted defeat and went home.
So when a rare free hot Saturday afternoon presented itself back in May we decided it was time to woman up and “conquer the Carn”. Boots on, lunch packed, sun cream applied and we set off. I have often heard people refer to getting your breathing right, being in the right frame of mind, but never really understood the relevance until that day. I was barely half an hour up the track before I could feel myself flagging. Lead legs and definitely not feeling the love – despite this being my “love to try the Carn again” and it being sunny! This was not a great start! Time to stop, take on some food (setting off when you are already hungry is maybe not to be advised), then refueled we set off again.
Much better this time. The route to the top is a well worn track in varied conditions. Some stoned, some boggy, some rocky. The final pull to the very top is a testing one but I was delighted to not stop every 20 steps. Mr Smith said that was a noticeable change in my fitness. Go me!?
At the top the chance to take a few photos, exchange hellos with the odd walker and cyclist (who appeared from nowhere) before returning back to the turnoff which would take us back towards the back of Clash Wood. 7 miles and 17000 steps later and we had completed the walk in a little over 4 hours. The sun was still shining and I felt great.
Fast forward to late June then and it was time to revisit the Carn with friend Jo and Diesel their Labrador retriever. Carn Diamh is also a regular favourite of Jo’s and she is a whole lot fitter than me. How do I know? Well, she can walk and talk without losing her breath for a start.
A very different day this time – a dull start, more clothing layers – and a Labrador intent on snacking on any dead mammal or discarded innards along the way. A gruesome fact of country life but carrion feeds much more wildlife, so it all forms part of the food chain really – just not sure a black lab counts as a carrion feeder? And circling the Labrador was definitely not on my original agenda – but hey, it’s a few more steps.
We made the summit far quicker, though I did need to take breath more than I had hoped. But as Jo said, when you can climb up here AND talk and not have to stop then you will be at peak fitness. No pressure then, eh Jo?
The route this time took us past the Carn and dropped to the “spooky wood” as Jo’s daughter calls it. Actually, it is a lovely quiet wood where the most you are likely to encounter I expect would be a roe deer who would be more ‘frit’ of you than you of it.
Onwards and homewards, with a nice stop for lunch by a babbling steam – well the sun was out by now. The clip clop of the riding school also passed by with a very cheery hello! Amazing how the sun shines through us all when it comes out from behind its cloud. Home in just about 4 hours and 20048 steps/8.5 miles this time. Must be improving.
And that takes my total number of steps to 207,613